Thumper is a fictional rabbit character from Disney's animated movie Bambi. He appeared again in Bambi II. He is known and named for his habit of thumping his left hind foot. Thumper also appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meetable character.

The character was an important influence upon the development of the movie Bambi which started production with an adult tone which seemed too serious and uncommercial. As voiced by the young actor, four-year-old Peter Behn, the vivacious character of Thumper was expanded from its original minor role and led to a focus upon the young animals in the story.[1]

Thumper is Disney's adaptation of Friend Hare from the novel Bambi, A Life in the Woods. The personality and visual appearance of the character was based upon Beatrix Potter's Benjamin Bunny.[2] Unlike real rabbits, Thumper is drawn with paw pads, a feature that most rabbits lack.

Film appearances

The character Thumper first appears in the film Bambi, watching as Bambi is first presented as the young prince to the creatures of the forest. He remarks that Bambi is "kinda wobbly" but is reproved by his mother who makes him repeat what his father had impressed upon him that morning, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all".[3] This moral is now known by such names as the "Thumperian principle", "Thumper's rule" or "Thumper's law".[4]

A few days later a still-wobbly Bambi was out with his mother when they re-encountered Thumper, who took it upon himself to teach the fawn various tricks, notably that of speech. He succeeded in teaching Bambi a few words, notably "bird" and "flower" which Bambi accidentally used to name a young skunk. Thumper tried to correct Bambi but the skunk said, "That's alright. He can call me Flower if he wants to. I don't mind". The three animals go on to become friends and this encounter provides another moral lesson in the virtues of tolerance and an easy disposition.[5]

In the winter, Thumper tries to teach Bambi how to skate on the ice but Bambi is wobbly again.[6]

In Bambi II, Thumper again appears hiding from his sisters and trying to help Bambi learn to be brave in the hopes of impressing his dad. Thumper is the main protagonist in a video storybook, Thumper Goes Exploring, which was released with the Platinum Edition of Bambi on March 1, 2005.[7]

The adult version of Thumper can be seen amongst the crowd of toons during the final scene of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He is also mentioned as Roger Rabbit's uncle in one scene of the film.

Disney Bunnies

Disney Bunnies is a merchandise line featuring Thumper as a main character. It consists mainly of storybooks, colorbooks, and more.[8]

Metaphorical usage

Thumper is used as a metaphor for a cuddly pet when referring to women.[9] "'Bambi" and "Thumper" are the names of two female bodyguards in the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever.

The name "Thumper" is given to a snake that Andy Pipkin gets Lou to buy instead of a rabbit in Little Britain, Season 1, Episode 5, Clip 2.

The name was used for a project by the General Electric Company which looked at ways to defend the USA against ballistic missiles, such as the V2, which were used by Germany in World War II. This subsequently led to the United States Air Force program BAMBI – BAllistic Missile Boost Intercept.[10]


  1. Matthew Roth (2005), "Man is in the Forest", Invisible Culture (9) 
  2. Bruno Girveau (2006), Once Upon a Time Walt Disney, Munich: Prestel, ISBN 3791361066 
  3. June Titus (2000), Still Living, Still Learning, Kregel Publications, ISBN 0825438241 
  4. Robert J. Sternberg, Peter A. Frensch (1991), Complex Problem Solving, Hillsdale, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates, p. 383, ISBN 0805806504 
  5. Mark I. Pinsky (2004), The Gospel According to Disney, Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, pp. 46–47, ISBN 0664225918 
  6. Ashton D. Trice, Samuel A. Holland (2001), Heroes, antiheroes, and dolts, McFarland, p. 184, ISBN 9780786410972 
  7. Dave Kehr (March 1, 2005), New DVD's, New York Times 
  8. Disney Bunnies: Goodnight, Thumper! (Board book)
  9. Kira Hall, Mary Bucholtz (1995), "Bitches and Skankly Hobags", Gender Articulated, New York, NY: Routledge, p. 286, ISBN 0415913985 
  10. Dr Daniel S. Papp (Winter 1987–88), From Project Thumper to SDI, Airpower Journal 

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